niggas and rednecks

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Friday was good.

I spent the majority of the day in my underwear editing boudoir photos for my most recent clients (such as the one to the left).  Yeah. I get paid to do this.  I seriously love my life.

In the evening, I went to shoot 2 concerts for Party Utah at The Complex.  For those of you who have never been to The Complex, it’s a great venue. It’s quickly becoming my second home.  Every tues night, I go there for the best open mic comedy night in town. And most weeks, I’m there another night to shoot a concert of some variety.  The building has 4 different venues within it, ranging from a room with a 2500 person capacity to a 100 cap intimate venue.  Anyway, tonight, I was covering some hip-hop show in the 800 person room, and the Revival Tour in the 300 person room. I love nights like this when I get to work between two disparately unrelated events.   The Revival tour featured musicians from various punk / rock acts, playing blue grass /folk /americana music –  featuring  Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem, Dave Hause of The Loved Ones (American band), Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio, and Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music.

You can see photos from the show here:

There was a robust and adoring crowd there. Though I don’t particularly identify too  much with folk music, I did appreciate what they had going on.

Now let’s talk about the other room.  Honestly, I have no idea who the headliner was… it was just some pretentious black dude with a mic, rapping about the same things that 99% of other black dudes feel compelled to talk about when you give them a mic:

  • bitches
  • cash money
  • all of their niggas
  • bitches
  • 17″ rims
  • bitches
  • expensive booze
  • bitches
  • how tough they are
  • bitches
  • how thug their neighborhood is
  • bitches
  • and most importantly: KEEPING IT REAL.

There’s also usually some stuff about how they only rap for the money – like, it’s super hard work, but they agree to do it, just to feed their kids.  They talk about getting up on stage and rapping as if they were out digging ditches in the Mojave desert in late July at noon.  They imply that they are gracing us with their presence, and that they are going to spit just enough ryhmes to get paid, and then they are OUT, muthafucka.

Hip Hop can be SO good, and it can also suck SO severely...

The other complaint I have with local hip hop shows is that anyone with brown skin will get up there and talk like they were raised in Harlem or the Bronx, when in reality, they grew up between an LDS church house and a preschool in Kearns.

….and they still live with their mom.

….and they have never had a job that pays more than $9.78 an hour, because nobody wants to hire a kid with oversized pants that insists on speaking like he’s from a place that he’s never even visited.

….and the only “bitches and hos” they’ve ever experienced are their sister’s grossly overweight 17 year old half Samoan half chilean friends that come over and get sloppy drunk on school nights.

Before you get on my case about attacking the hip hop community, let me say this: I LOVE ME some good hip hop.  People Under The Stairs, P.O.S., AIM, Jedi Mind Tricks, Cunnylinguists… I love all of these guys. I listen to them all the time.

But GOD, I hate pretense. I hate it with all my heart. And yes, my fellow pop-psych nerds, this does mean that I’m deathly afraid of finding it in myself.

You know, I’m totally ok with people doing all of that stuff.  I mean, we are all in different places in our spiritual journey. The one thing I just FUCKING HATE about the brown people scene, though, is this bullshit about “keeping it real”.  I have never hung out with less real, more pretentious pricks than these folks.  It’s beyond absurd.  Seriously guys, go fuck yourselves, or learn to truly keep it real.  Rap about your mom’s basement, please.

Anyway, I’m going to try to chill out now. It may suffice to say that as much as I don’t like 99% of the hip hop scene, I do like walking between rooms and shooting them. It’s like getting in a hot tub in the winter, then jumping out, running around in the snow, then jumping back in the hot tub. Cheap thrills.

I ran into my friend Jessica at the show. She is a gorgeous, bubbly, sweet girl. We decided to hang out after the show. I went home, changed out of my pants (hey, it’s the weekend. I don’t wear pants on the weekend), and into my typical weekend evening wear.  People may say, “dude, you wear that all the time”. Yep. And Steve Jobs always wore black mock turtlenecks.  She dropped by, I jumped in her car, and we took off for a party at Club One.  She had some former co-workers there celebrating a birthday.  When we arrived, the girl at the front door tried to tell us that the guest list ended at 11 (and it was now midnight) and that we needed to pay $10 each.  Fortunately for us, I know one of the managers there, from my days shooting for the Sandbar. When he saw us, he ushered us in. No cover necessary.

Jim Gaffigan is a brilliant comic, far better than George Carlin. That's another topic for another day.

At one point, I saw a group of 3 people checking me out. One of the women came over and said, “I have to give you props on your outfit tonight! I love that you are wearing pantyhose and heels. You obviously have big… no, HUGE balls”, while making gestures with her hands, depicting very large orbs.  We had a nice chat, talked about her job at la Chaille, and some other forgettable chit chat.  Super nice. If any of you are going to la Chaille for dinner, ask for Shannon. You may need to call and make a reservation for her to take care of you. She’s been doing this for over 20 years, and is obviously very good at what she does. Her money saving tip – bring your own wine and pay the $15 corkage fee.

Last call came and went, and we returned back to my place. We mixed drinks, watched the new Jim Gaffigan special “Mr. Universe” (which was absolutely hysterical – get it for $5 at ), and spent an awesome night together.  I thought that bedroom maneuvers were going to kill me, given the shitty state of affairs in my rib cage.  I was once again reminded of the analgesic and healing properties of endorphins.  Thank you, dear :-)

Life is good.

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Paul Duane

Paul Duane is a photographer, writer, and talk show host based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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